Dramatic water rescues after Hurricane Ian pummels through Florida | USA TODAY

Rescuers fight through deep water to save those trapped as Hurricane Ian blasts through Florida.

RELATED: Boaters at sea rescued by sheriffs during Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida's southwestern coast Wednesday as one of the most powerful storms in U.S. history, tearing apart homes and buildings and leaving some residents stranded as storm surge flooded communities.

The storm made landfall near Cayo Costa as a Category 4 storm Wednesday afternoon with maximum sustained winds measured at a stunning 150 mph — only 7 mph slower than a Category 5, the highest status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale of Hurricane Intensity. It slowed as it lashed the state and was downgraded to a Category 1 storm Wednesday night, the National Hurricane Center reported.

"It is going to have major, major impacts in terms of wind, in terms of rain, in terms of flooding," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned in a briefing Wednesday. "So this is going to be a nasty, nasty day, two days."

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